Glued to the desk and plowing through endless worksheets during exam season may seem overwhelming for your child, but here’s some stress-busting tips to help him or her manage this challenging time.


1. Brain foods

Eating well can help your child concentrate, remember things and perform better. Avoid junk food and minimise sugary and high carbohydrate food. These can give a sudden burst of energy and then leave your child feeling tired later. Instead, offer your child more complex carbohydrates like brown rice, proteins like eggs or meat, and lots of fruit and vegetables, while avoiding fried and fatty foods.


2. Sleep well

Get a good night’s sleep. This gives your child’s body a chance to rest and recharge. Help your child keep a routine where meals and bedtimes are around the same time each day will go a long way to reduce feelings of tiredness and stress.


3. Make time for exercise

Get your child moving. It could be a jog or stroll at the nearby park, a swim, or cycling. Try to jog on the spot for shorter breaks, do 10 jumping jacks, or just jump up and down. Exercise will not  only boost your child’s mood, but it will also help to clear your child’s mind to refocus, and make revision time more productive.


4. Have a break

Work in regular short brain breaks. Get a drink or snack, play with a pet or watch some TV. Having study breaks help your child focus better and reduces feelings of stress.


5. Set realistic goals

Help your child set goals and plan a study schedule that needs to be completed in the time leading up to the exams. Try to list out the topics to study for each subject, then divide these into monthly, weekly, and daily targets. When your child knows what his or her daily study tasks are, it will help to break down the work to be done into more manageable chunks. Completing each task would give a sense of achievement and relieve the stress.


6. Unplug from screen time

Gaming, social media, and online videos can be a major distraction for many. All the time spent checking out their friends’ social media updates or chalking up points on their handphone games could mean major time drain and increase stress levels. Try explaining why limiting screen time is important, then set rules that limit device usage to a certain time of the day, or use parental controls, and encourage other activities.


Finally, many children may feel the most exam pressure from their family members. Give them the support they need, be positive and encouraging, and avoid scolding or criticising. Reassure them that failing is not the end of the world. And if exam stress is truly overwhelming or paralysing your child, do get professional help from your doctor or school counsellor.